Thursday, July 12, 2012
12 July: The Friday Souq
12 July Day Two for Yumi at the Al-Hussein Youth Club Summer Camp in Sports City. For some reason I was under the impression it started at 10:30am. I realized today that it begins at 10:00am. Not that I could have gotten her there by then; I put Aya down for a nap at 9 or 9:15am and don't get her up until one hour later. But I wonder, if she attends again next week, if Nate could drop her on his way to class? Unlike the Arabic Camp run by my friend Amanda, Sports City is right on his way. He would have to wait to leave for school/dropping her off until 9:45am or so, a full half hour or more than he normally leaves. He may not want to do that. I'll ask. This morning was more pleasant than most--very little crankiness. A relief! Yumi worked on decorating her latest sticker chart and Emi the pack rat shifted her "stuff" (bags of things) around the room. Aya proudly practiced her new favorite activity: walking! I squeezed in a workout; I am going to have to come up with another ABC app for Yumi. She just has not gotten into the new spelling app and I find myself arguing with her all through my workout over just how many letters she has to practice with Dora. I end up nagging and know it is wrong (if for no other reason than it might out her off ABCs) but otherwise she just won't stay on task. And if she does not stay on task she starts playing with Emi. And that only leads to trouble. BUT the nagging her is also problematic because it makes us both annoyed. I need to figure this one out. Today we took a cab over to sports city. Considering how hard it was to find one when we left at nearly 2pm under the hot sun, I am not sure how great of an idea that was...but would taking a stroller home have really been any easier/faster? Definitely not. So, as enviro-friendly as I am I will have to publicly admit that I sure do wish we had private wheels. :-) Today the camp featured swimming lessons! Yumi sure was excited about it. I left Yumi--clutching her little bag with her bathing suit, towel, and goggles--in the hands of a nice-looking girl named Farah. Emi, Aya, and I left the Sports City complex, crossed the street, withdrew money from an ATM, and chatted with a guy running a nuts/seeds store nearby. With only Emi to mind, lingering to chat with someone is possible. I learned, for the first time (strangely enough) how to say "seed" and learned the names of the different types of seeds and nuts for sale. Curiously, two of the most popular seeds are named "Iranian Seeds" and "Afghani Seeds." Well, I found it interesting.... We returned to Sports City and to the pool. Today's visit was a bit more enjoyable than last time's probably because I set out a towel on the grass near the pool and we three girls spent some time just lounging. We did not slide down the water slide, although Emi hung about the platform between the two slides for at least 15 minutes. No amount of persuading would bring her down, however. I splashed around with Aya and led Emi around by the hand as she walked in the shallow end. Both last time and this time she mentioned "Giselle" when I put on her floaties. This time I realized that they remind her of Giselle's puffy sleeves in "Enchanted.". Cute! I did not get a chance to chat with anyone at the pool other than to ask a women who had let her boys play with our water guns where the parts where that her boys had removed (and she had irresponsibly allowed them to remove...). Some girl hung about and tried to play with Aya and me in the pool but I could not understand her at all...and she was annoying. Not an Arabic enhancing experience but we enjoyed ourselves. However, I did get a chance to talk with Farah when I came to pick up Mayumi. All the kids were in the gym, supposedly playing soccer, but really just being supervised while they ran around madly. That is too bad. Running around madly is good for kids but I would love to see more structure. I saw Yumi wandering around by herself on the fringes and my heart sank for her. When she saw me, however, she just smiled and reached out her hand to Emi who happily joined her. I sat down next to Farah and had a good chat with her, both about Yumi and herself. She told me that Yumi had interacted with some of the girls--all of which were now clustered tightly around me and Aya, cooing at her. And as I watched, I could see that she was having a fine enough time. I let them both play a little longer but we faced the same problem we have every day: it was now nearly 2pm, none of us had eaten, and we are not at "home." Close, fortunately, but not home. Getting the girls out of the gym, the 100 or so yards from the exit to the street, and to keep close while we waiting for a cab was not easy. The girls squabbled in the elevator and Yumi bit me. On the leg. I shouted, she cried. I figured a full-scale fit was in store and for about 5 minutes she did scream. And said a few bitter things. But she gained control--another example of how far she has come. Whew! I have enjoyed almost two hours of quiet time and now Aya is waking and not happy. Time to release the krakens! This evening: we went down to 'Abdali for ka'ek sandwiches. Us girls met Nate there and this time we started at the top of the "Friday souq" (it starts Thursday afternoon) and made our way down. Everything is on offer at the souq, including used western-style clothes. This sounded like a fun idea and at first is was: we browsed through the onesie rack and got Aya a few other clothing options; we landed the jackpot when we found a nearly brand new Snow White costume; we let the girls each choose a little toy from one of the many toy tables. And then, as always, the girls were done. They hit their wall. Unfortunately we had quite a way to go before reaching the bottom of the souq and the ka'ek bakery. We eventually made it and the girls perked up at the sight of the food. We loaded up on carbs and took it back to the hotel via a taxi. To avoid a riot in the taxi I pulled out some of the baraze--sweet sesame cracker--the bakery produces. Delicious. The cab driver was annoyed, however, loudly muttering that his taxi is not a restaurant. Tumultuous pre-bed period but what can you expect. They were tired. I am happy that we got to go to the souq and look forward to the day when the girls have greater stamina/self control and can enjoy/be trusted in the souq. Like maybe when they are 18.